While riding the subway home and thinking about the Mets, this crossed my mind (it didn’t cross my keyboard till sometime later, but you get the point):
- Daniel Murphy – Howard Megdal had an excellent summary of the Mets options for Murphy over at MLB Trade Rumors. I’m particularly interested in seeing how he handles second base. Russ Adams is currently getting the bulk of the playing time at second for the Bisons, so it’s not as if Murphy would be displacing a prospect. He still has value to this club as a reserve, but as Megdal explains, mastering second base would increase it quite a bit. Remember, he’s under the Mets control for the near future and if he doesn’t get back to Flushing until September, he won’t be eligible for arbitration until after the 2012 season (he currently has one year and 58 days of service time). His future is probably as a utility man, but it can’t hurt to see if he can handle second base full-time.
- Terry Collins – Brian Costa of the Star-Ledger posted a Spring Training Q&A session with Terry Collins, the Mets minor-league field coordinator (hat-tip to Metsblog for linking to it). Aside from explaining what a minor-league field coordinator does, Collins discussed some of his personal philosophies regarding player development. Of particular interest:
“We’re going to try to slow the process down just a bit. I know everybody wants to rush players to the big leagues. I think that can be a hindrance as much as it can be a help. I do believe players need to be challenged when the time comes. They need to learn how to fail, because they’re going to be humbled in the big leagues sometime. They need to learn that in the minor leagues, how to get through those things. So when the time is right, we’re going to challenge them. But to put them over their heads right now and let them drown, I don’t think that’s fair. I believe in playing with confidence. I really think that means something. And I want to move players up, not back.”
Collins’ approach is part of the reason why I’m glad Murphy is going to Buffalo instead of taking Frank Catalanotto’s spot on the roster. If the Mets are willing to put Murphy in a position to succeed, I’m willing to give them the chance to do so, even if it weakens the major league roster in the short term. They need to maximize their available assets: getting Murphy regular playing time does just that.
- The Bench – There’s been a lot of talk about the bench over the past few weeks. Robert James at Surviving the Citi had wrote a nice post today highlighting their deficiencies. Gary Matthews Jr., Frank Catalanotto, and Alex Cora have no spot on the team in my opinion, but I can’t lump Henry Blanco and Fernando Tatis in with them. Blanco can’t hit a lick, but I think his impact on the starting rotation alone is worth his presence on the bench. Let’s face it: he’s the best defensive catcher in the organization, hands down. And as popular as it is to trash Tatis, I think he’s a perfectly adequate bench player. Able to play every position except center field, he’s a fine insurance policy against short term injury. Yes, he’s struggled at the plate. But his performance over the past two season has earned him an extended chance (believe it or not). As for the other three, how about cutting them and calling up Jason Pridie, Chris Carter, and Ruben Tejada? It’s too much to ask, but a guy can dream…
- Chemistry – Back-to-back national television appearances gave me a headache, but not for the usual reasons. This time, it was the continual references to how the locker room has improved, how the Mets have a new focus on “team-oriented” players, and how “locker room chemistry” was a major reason for their improvement. Ugh. Spare me. I’m sure Alex Cora’s a great guy and I realize he’s not going anywhere (my previous bullet aside, there’s no way the Mets eat his contract), but I’m sick and tired of intangibles. I haven’t been able to calculate the exact amount of money I would spend, but I would pay a considerable sum to never hear them mentioned again.
- Ernie Harwell – This isn’t a true “Subway Thought” because I learned of his passing during the game. Mr. Harwell was a treasure of the game, and his passing hit me a little harder than I expected: my first thought was of Bob Murphy, and the emotions I felt when he passed. There’s a blog post or two in there, but I just can’t write it tonight. RIP Mr. Harwell: we’ll miss you.
- Rubber Game – As I was typing this post, the Mets managed to survive back-to-back home runs from Joey Votto and Scott Rolen, thanks to a solo blast from Rod Barajas. The three game losing streak is over and the Mets now have a chance to improve their record in rubber games to 1-4. Jon Niese: you’ve got next.